Let me straight up tell you I've been there. Many times.
Looking back now I can see the beauty in every situation God walked through with me. Now I can see the purpose and beauty of what was then unknown to me. When I felt afraid, uncertain and unworthy along the way He continually took something scary and painful and made it good and beautiful in the end of that season. I can see now how it all unfolds perfectly according to His grace and mercy over me. Do I always remember that when another scary, painful thing pops up in my life? Heck no. But I've surrounded myself with Aarons and Hurs to help me hold my arms up when I grow weary and remember who I am. (AKA my sweet husband and a couple girl friends who are fiercely after God - we need these people in our lives ladies!). Exodus 17:11-14.
There have been times I would find myself suddenly so far from shore, so far from safety and would wonder how I got there. When I would trace my steps I would find that it wasn't some dramatic event that caused me to feel so far and alone and unworthy - quite the contrary. It was small, little things that I didn't do along the way in spending time with God. It was the condition of my heart that caused me to slowly drift away from the safety of the shore.
In that sea I would find myself beginning to fear uncertainty. Then I would become easily tousled by the waves, and storms that came my way. Instead of truly believing my Savior was quite literally in the boat next to me just waiting for me to ask for help (AND listen), I would allow myself to become more fearful with every passing moment until I became overwhelmed and terrified of every small change in the sea around me. Causing me to feel completely unworthy.
Have you experienced that harrowing feeling before? Where all of a sudden it seems like every little thing could send you into a fearful panic at a moment's notice? For seemingly no reason? Things that wouldn't bother you before or even in a singular event suddenly make it seem like the world is falling apart? I'm not just talking about general anxiety here, I'm more talking about when things pile on one after the other until they become such a heavy burden they make you feel like you can't breathe.
Sometimes life happens and it can cause me to feel like I'll never be good enough and that really messes with my heart and mind. I've felt all the feelings before. The feelings that I'm not as beautiful, not as put together, that's it bad I don't care to wear heels (like ever) or spend a million hours on my hair, that I'm not as strong or successful ... you name it.
But those are ALL LIES from the pit.
And the truth is, honestly - I like myself. Without those lies in my head I do think I am beautiful and strong and worthy ... because I know who I am. But the problems arise when I forget.
Even in healing we can still struggle in the day to day at times. I found myself bombarded with what felt like a million things weighing on my heart so heavily. Of course, the million things aren't the issue. The issue is that I allow myself too often to take the easy route that my flesh so desperately wants. It cries out "just allow some relief, you don't need to be strong all the time." You know when you feel you've been strong for SOOOOO long you just want some relief??! Like after 30 burpees in the middle of a hot parking lot in July in Texas all you want is to jump into a pool of ice cold water and never exercise again?? That feeling.
The problem with entertaining the temptation to "just get the relief" or "I deserve to rest" is that it's not what God calls me or His daughters to do. It doesn't cause growth. He calls me a Child of God. I better act like one right??! That's a pretty strong calling. And every time I think about it (who I am), I get chills. Because that's the King of Kings we're talking about here. What an honor to be called loved, treasured, and called according to His purpose?! What could we do if we lived only according to what God thought about us? How amazing and freeing that would be. Even just writing about who He says I am completely diminishes any fear because suddenly I have strength that is not my own. I see my value. Only God can do that.
Hence why I'm saying it's so crucial to keep our eyes, hearts and minds fixated on Christ. You feel me here?? Only Jesus can fill the void and give you strength. Your value is not in this world or what anyone says about you. I don't care who you are or what atrocities you've done. You are radically loved just as you are. Only Jesus can fill the void. Nothing else will. You can go your entire life trying to fill it with it with clothes, material things, men, love, adventure, money ... whatever your "thing" is, but those things will never ever give you the perfect love and safety you desire. You have a God-shaped hole in your heart that only He can fill. I know this because I've even done it with my own husband. The truth is, he is an amazing man and fills me up in so many ways, but he isn't God. He isn't perfect. And it's unfair to place that expectation on a fellow broken human whom I love so deeply.
After a lot of trial and error (lots of error), I've decided it's better to not give in to relief and instead choose to be strong and to ask God to fill in the places I can't. BOY can that be hard when He's asking me to grow and wait. It can make me pretty mad sometimes, not going to lie to you. I've come to the point where I can be real in sharing my emotions with Him and telling Him how I'm feeling. I know in the end it's for my own good and I truly don't know what's best for me in this moment anyway. If God answered all my prayers right away and exactly how I wanted them I wouldn't be where I am today. I wouldn't be this strong, I wouldn't have the capacity to love more fully and more deeply, my marriage wouldn't be flourishing more than it ever has, I wouldn't know God as fully, I wouldn't be able to help others with a deeper understanding, I wouldn't have a thriving business, I wouldn't be in stinking TEXAS, I wouldn't be this happy or living with this kind of purpose.
If I let every lie, doubt, and fear someone else projects onto me cause me to stop walking in my purpose, I will absolutely start to drift from shore and will become overwhelmed by uncertainty and life's burdens, and I'll be easily swayed by what others say about me. Because my focus would be set on what a broken, hurting fellow human thinks and not what my perfect, loving God thinks of me.
I've had things happen that straight up told me I wasn't good enough. That "someone else was better". WHAT A LIE. When I threw my hands up and said, "Jesus I can't do this alone," I found out that I was actually, truthfully good enough in the end and through it all. God can work in a heart that is willing. When I'm not a hot mess trying to duct tape my life together on my own, but confident in who He says I am, He can actually move through me and not only change my own heart, but change countless other hearts because of my story. He's really surprised me in how well He knows and cares about my heart's desires.
Shifting the focus off myself and the whole "woe is me" attitude allows me to find purpose in the struggle. It extinguishes fear and allows peace to set in. "There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear. For fear has to do with punishment, and whoever fears has not been perfected in love." - 1 John 4:18. My challenge to you is to allow yourself to be loved by Jesus. Allow yourself to trust Him with one small thing and then push yourself a little more each day as you learn to trust. God makes all things beautiful. Believe me. You have victory now. He sees you and me as beautiful and wonderful. No thing that man can say about you or do to you will change who you are and who are you called to be.
I don't know about you, but I refuse to get knocked down and stay down. I've been a fighter all my life and I've come to the conclusion that Satan can scheme all he wants (and lets be real, sometimes it's so ridiculously obvious and desperate in the timing of old things trying to claw their way back in), but it will never change God's plan for my life. I've found rest in knowing I am perfectly safe in His arms. His plan is perfect and full of grace. He's always provided for me and there's no reason for Him to stop now.
Looking back, He's been woven into every detail my entire life. He makes everything, even the worst and hardest, beautiful. You are good enough. You are worthy. You are called. For this moment. Exactly where you are.
Somehow allow yourself to uncurl from the fear and lies that have shut you down, and just give Jesus one hand. Allow Him to hug you and embrace you. He knows the number of hairs on your head, the deepest longings of your heart, and He cares about what you're feeling. I promise you, even though the fear can be disabling, Jesus is in the waiting, there is joy and freedom on the other side. Growth hurts. It's painful. But it's worth the strength and beauty on the other side waiting for you. You will never walk through fire alone and you will not be burned. You are so loved.
What are some of your big God moments? What have you looked back on in your life and realized God was there in the details all along?